Thu, 11 Aug 2022

© Provided by Xinhua

CAIRO, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The large gate of Fustat Pottery Village looked like an entrance to a unique world of traditional handicraft, where dozens of highly artistic items were displayed during the largest pottery festival in Egypt's capital Cairo.

Entitled Clay Jewellers, the three-day festival, which concluded on Tuesday, exhibited a variety of pottery and ceramic works, such as handmade pots, mugs, teacups, bowls and vases, for both actual home use and decoration.

"I have been working in pottery for 60 years since I was a boy. I do both clay shaping and clay mold designs," Youssef Mohamed Taha told Xinhua.

"I am happy to see many visitors during the festival," the 75-year-old veteran pottery maker said.

© Provided by Xinhua

Located south of Cairo, the village has been famous for handmade pottery production for decades.

It was developed into the new Fustat Pottery Village in late 2021 as a tourist attraction as part of the government's development plan for Cairo's old districts and strategy to support handicraft.

"The development of the pottery village is a leap for us as craftsmen. It's great to feel that the village is getting the government's attention and care," Taha told Xinhua.

The renovated village, home to more than 150 pottery workshops, is considered Egypt's center for traditional pottery making.

The basic material these workshops use for pottery making is clay from Upper Egypt's Aswan and natural colors.

"I inherited the profession from my father and I further studied pottery and its history," said Mohamed Khalil Mandour, a 29-year-old pottery maker, adding the festival helps promote the village and its products.

As one of the oldest handicrafts dating back to the predynastic times of ancient Egypt, the pottery also passes on ancient history as wall carvings do, said Mandour.

© Provided by Xinhua

Apart from displaying pottery items, the festival also provided fun experiences for visitors, who can make and color pottery items themselves.

Nader Mahrous, a pottery workshop owner, had dozens of children learning pottery making at his booth as part of the activities of the festival.

"This is an initiative to promote the craft among new generations. We have divided it into two parts: one for clay shaping and the other for coloring," Mahrous explained, noting a free training course will be provided for children who have talents.

"The government's development of the village, the establishment of a pottery school and this festival itself are signs of a hopeful renaissance here," said the pottery workshop owner.

© Provided by Xinhua

Marilyn Musaad, a young woman who visited the village with her friends, had a great time at the festival.

"I made this ashtray. I liked the experience but it is really so difficult," she said with a laugh.

Ahmed el-Rouby, a 26-year-old visitor, said he felt so excited about all the handmade works in the village as he "really" likes them.

"I have seen those exhibited items and the actual process of making them during the festival. It was also nice to see them teaching children and adults who are interested in pottery making," the young man told Xinhua.

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